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The Consciousness ParadoxConsciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts$
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Rocco J. Gennaro

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016605

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016605.001.0001

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Animal Consciousness

Animal Consciousness

(p.229) 8 Animal Consciousness
The Consciousness Paradox

Rocco J. Gennaro

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the consciousness of most animals as posited by the Animals Thesis. The reconciliation of this thesis with the HOT and Conceptualism Theses is the main focus, especially considering that the Animals Thesis, like the Infants Thesis, is a widely held view. Some argue, however, that animals do not possess the faculties that allow them to have concepts—or, in the case of the HOT theory, sophisticated concepts which are required by the HOT theory. An exchange with Peter Carruthers, who accepts the conclusion that HOT theory entails that most animals are not conscious, is also illustrated and criticized. Many animals, in fact, have the capacity to possess mental concepts and self-concepts as demonstrated by “Lloyd Morgan’s Canon,” which posits that attributing conscious mental states to animals is ultimately the more prudent hypothesis.

Keywords:   consciousness, Animals Thesis, HOT, conceptualism, Infants Thesis, sophisticated concepts, Peter Carruthers, Lloyd Morgan’s Canon

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